Wednesday, 19 March 2014 - 08:19
Excise tax hike supplies state money
The increase of the excises on diesel and lpg (liquefied petroleum gas) seems to be filling the treasury for the time being. The surprising outcome comes from a letter by Eric Wiebes, state secretary of Finance. Wiebes sent these figures to Parliament, under pressure and against his own will, which detail payments credited to the account of the Tax Administration, and especially concern the fuel excise submissions of January. So it seems that the controversial hikes on diesel and lpg excises have actually supplied the treasury €395 million in February. Last year, this was €302 million, and in 2012, €277 million. Opposition parties such as the CDA, PVV and SP have reacted strongly against the excise hikes in the last few weeks. They claim it leads to massive migrations across the border to buy fuel, and while they're at it also load up on drink and groceries. This, in turn, leads to bankruptcies for gas station operators and supermarkets in the border region. The opposition parties, as well as organizations such as Bovag, warned that as well for the "leak out effect" for the treasury. It would be raking in less excises by the millions. CDA MP Pieter Omtzigt, the biggest naysayer for the excise hike, is taking a cynical reaction to the figures Wiebes sent to Parliament. "Government sends excise payments day before elections (diesel + almost 30=Y) knowing that that is super misleading" he tweeted. He also doesn't seem to believe them: "PS: if 15=Y more diesel was sold, then you would see longer lines and happy gas station operators. #ifonlyitwastrue." Wiebes has been against sending figures for one or two months, preferring to do so in May, collecting the figures of the first three months of the year. January's figures weren't usable, and were misleading, untrustworthy and meaningless, Wiebes said, but has sent them anyway under pressure from Parliament.